Andaman and nicobar houses (vernacular architecture india)

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ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDSVernacular Architecture India.

Geographical Locations.

Geographical Conditions.There are 349 islands in the territory having an area of 8,249km2 (3,185sqmi). Of these, about 38 are permanently inhabited. The islands extend from 6 to 14 North latitudes and from 92 to 94 East longitudes. The Andamans are separated from the Nicobar group by a channel (the Ten Degree Channel) some 150km (93mi) wide. The highest point is located in North Andaman Island (Saddle Peak at 732m (2,402ft). The Andaman group has 325 islands which cover an area of 6,170km2 (2,382sqmi) while the Nicobar group has only 24 islands with an area of 1,765km2 (681sqmi).

CLIMATIC CONDITIONSTropical climate.Humid Weather and has no winter season. Rainy season lasts for 180 days in a year. The southwest monsoon touches the Indian soil first in the Andamans and then proceeds towards the Indian mainland. Seasons: Summer - January to April, Monsoon - May to December. Relative Humidity: 70% - 90%. Mean minimum temperature at 23 C and maximum at 28 C Annual Rainfall: 3,000 mm Andaman & Nicobar Islands is always warm, with pleasant sea-breeze . The rainy season happens twice a year under the influence of Southwest monsoon in mid-May to September, and Northeast monsoon in November To January. There is medium to heavy rain during the monsoon, in the months from May to mid September and November to mid December.

NG HUT. They are built to the shape of a somewhat flattened cone, about 13 feet high, and 30 feet in diameter. On a framework of light sticks , supported by twenty or more upright poles planted irregularly about the interior, a thick covering of large mats is laid. The mats are made by fastening the stripped mid-ribs of a species of fern-palm side by side with a rattan lashing after the style of a "chick," and then securing at right angles to the foundation thus constructed a thick layer of the pinna of the same plant. For doors, several of the lower mats are arranged to roll up, and leave an opening about 4 feet square. Sleeping platforms are formed by laying split bamboos lengthwise on a framework, measuring about 5 feet by 4 feet, which is raised above the ground on legs 6 to 18 inches high. Each hut contains a number of such bed-places.


KAR NICOBARESE FAMILY AND DWELLING-HOUSE, WITH LOUNGE BENEATH. All the buildings stand on thick piles, about 7 feet high, but vary in architectural type. The living-houses (pati), roughly about 20 feet in diameter, and 15-20 feet in height from floor to apex, are in shape something between an inverted basin and a pie-dish, covered with a heavy thatch of lallang grass. Without windows or visible entrance, the interior is reached by a neatly-made ladder of bamboo, or notched pole, through a trapdoor in the floor, which works on like hinges and has an alarum attached, so that any nocturnal intruder will make his presence known.

KAR NICOBARESE FAMILY AND DWELLING-HOUSE, WITH LOUNGE BENEATH. The top of each pile is fitted with a large, circular, wooden disc, to prevent the entry of rats and reptiles, and beneath the house, in the shade, there is generally a swing, and also a platform of springy cane that serves the native for a lounge. Baskets, bag-shaped and wide-meshed, hang from the piles, and in these the hens are put when it is laying-time.Inside, the walls are generally neatly lined with thin battens of areca palm attached horizontally; up in the roof, a kind of attic is formed, by means of a light shelving of areca or other palm wood, having a square aperture left in the centre for entrance. On the floor, which is also grated, are the wooden clothes-chests that contain the family possessions, betel-boxes, the mats of areca palm leaf, and the wooden head-rests which are used when sleeping; and from the walls hang baskets, spears, crossbows, suspensory contrivances made from small branches with part of the twigs left on, and also some tobacco, coconuts, and a piece of porkthe offering to the spirits.The other type of building (kamun telika) is used as a kitchen; it has a ridged but curved roof, an oblong floor, rounded at the back and in front, and a platform, and a semicircular projection of the roof to shade the doorway.


A KITCHEN HOUSE, MS VILLAGE.At the further end the fireplace is situated. A flat block of wood is hollowed out and covered with sand or clay, and huge clay pots often with a capacity of many gallons stand above it, on pieces of stone, raising them clear of the coconut husks which are the principal fuel. Around lie pandanus fruit, the boards and shells with which it is prepared for eating, and the thorn-armed leaf stems of the rattan, which the natives use for grating up coconut. Up in the roof, are stuck, between the thatch and the rafters, hollowed out wooden troughs, in which the food of the pigs, dogs, and other animals is prepared; flat wooden dishes, provision baskets, and fans for blowing up the fire, made of the sheathing petiole of palm trees, while, across the beams, are hung coconut shells joined in pairs by a short rattan handle which contain the day's supply of water.

A KITCHEN HOUSE, MS VILLAGE.The thatch of the houses generally of lallang grass, but sometimes of palm leaf is fastened to a framework, built with vertical rafters of the mid-ribs of the coco palm, joined crossways by battens of areca wood, of which material the grated floor is also made. Until recently, the whole structure was held together by careful mortising and lashings of cane, but now it is evident from the newer buildings that nails are coming into use among the natives of this island for such work.The houses stand in groups, on open sandy ground, and interspersed with them are plantations (ya) of bananas, melons, and sweet potatoes protected from the numerous roving pigs by zigzag fences of rails piled horizontally between double posts and clumps of fruit-trees of many varieties coconut, orange, lime, shaddock, soursop, jack champada, tamarind and papaya.


KITCHEN AND DWELLING-HOUSE, WITH FESTIVAL TREE, NANKAURI. Bamboo posts, too, split at the upper end and spread out fanwise, are planted at intervals along the beach; they are put up yearly by every man in the village, to keep fever and devils (iwi) away; and several grotesque figures of crocodiles (yo), placed in little shelters, raised on poles, prevent their living counterparts from attacking the villagers when they enter the water.The houses are of two kinds, round and rectangular; the latter are used as kitchens and storerooms, but there is a fireplace in the others, where much of the cooking is done. The conical roofs are made of attaps of nipah palm, neatly fastened to a framework of thick rattan by lashings of cane, the sides and floor are generally of roughly-hewn boards; inside, about 3 feet from the wall, a circle of posts helps to support the roof, which, in some cases, is entirely lined with horizontal laths of wood. The apex is crowned outside by a high, carved finial. Access is obtained by means of a notched pole, and to permit the entrance of domestic animals, a tree trunk, split and hollowed out to form a trough, slopes gently up from the ground to door or window. Beneath the houses are platforms on which the natives keep their store of pandanus and coconuts, their spare pots and baskets, and peculiar bundles of wood. This latter is neatly cut into billets about 1 foot long, and packed into circular bundles, 2 or 3 feet in diameter, by means of a tight lashing of cane.


DWELLING-HOUSES, DRING HARBOUR, KAMORTA.They are fairly numerous, and those living near the shore are on friendly terms with the coast people, bartering jungle produce and rattans. It is not wise, however, to go into the interior of Great Nicobar, as the wild men (orang utan) will murder strangers for the sake of their clothes and ornaments. They themselves are clothed in bark apparel. Their houses are either light shelters, the materials of which they carry about in their journeys, fitted with bunks one above the other, beneath the lowest of which a small fire smoulders; or are of a more substantial construction, with a fence surrounding each house cluster.


A VILLAGE OF THE SHOM PE. The houses were small structures built on piles, 4 to 6 feet high, with open sides, and roofs of attaps.The houses five in number, and recently constructed stood on piles about 12 feet high; in several cases a live tree being built in. These supports were strengthened by diagonal struts a most uncommon form of scaffolding among savages. The floors were made of saplings placed side by side, and the side walls, about 3 feet high, of split nibong palm; while the roofs, which just afforded head-room at the apex, were roughly thatched with whole palm leaves, piled on butt downwards.


HUTS OF THE SHOM PE. Each house was about 8 feet square, and at one end of each a small platform was attached, on which was the fireplace, with cooking apparatus of bark sheets covered with large green leaves, to prevent charring. In a corner of each hut was a shelf of split sticks, and a long trough of split and hollowed palm trunk sloped from ground to floor for the dogs and other animals to mount by. The ladders for human use were about 18 inches wide, with cross-pieces fastened on by rattan bindings.